Month: March 2016

ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie from New Musical Express, October 18, 1975

A really strange one this. Should it have been in print at all? Is this something that people needed to know? NME thought so, but I am unsure. In Norway the Press have made some ethcial rules for themselves called the “Exercise Caution – Placard”. It contains a set of rules that journalists are obliged to follow. The placards last words are written in uppercase letters: “WORDS AND IMAGES ARE POWERFUL WEAPONS. DO NOT ABUSE THEM!”
I don`t know if something like this exists in other countries, but it certainly should. The written word can be incredibly powerful, and sometimes people may have to be protected from themselves (But not in a oppressive regime kind of way). This one is out there already, and that`s why I chose to print it on my blog. The story told between the lines may be of interest to Bowie fans.

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A Mother`s Anguish

David never comes to see me

David Bowie`s mum pours her heart out to Charles Shaar Murray

Mrs. Jones lives in a fairly pleasant block of flats on one of those wide, tree-dotted Beckenham streets that seem to display examples of every conceivable variety of 20th century British tack architecture.
Her flat is a curious mixture of the commonplace – i.e. the kind of stuff that you`d expect to find in the home of a middle-aged lady living alone – and the unexpected. Like the stack of David Bowie albums over by the TV set mixed in with the movie soundtracks and the better-known classics, the huge, garish Bogart poster over the Bahaus table, the display of gold discs propped face-backwards against the wall in the hall, the family-size black and white print circa “Space Oddity” David Bowie ranged dead centre on the living room wall, the painting of Bowie-as-Ziggy in the corner.
Mrs. Jones is David Bowie`s mother.
She phoned up the NME office a week or two after our Bowie/Hitler cover story, and said that she thought that her boy was “a terrible hypocrite” and that she wanted to do an interview and elaborate on same.
Which is weird in the extreme. I mean, I`m entering my sixth year of writing-about-rock-for-fun-and-profit and one thing I`d never encountered before was the act`s parent ringing up to do some vicarious scolding of their famous prodigy. The closest parallel was the infamous affair of John Lennon`s dad back in `63.

Halfway up the stairs and Mrs. Jones is waiting in the doorway. Paul McCartney would probably describe her as a sort of mum kind of thing. She`s wearing a sleeveless floral dress and sensible shoes, and around the mouth and eyes she looks very much like Mr. Bowie.
“The only thing that a person over sixty can say to me,” Lenny Bruce once said, “is `Have you had enough to eat`?” In short order, I`m supplied with a glass of lemonade and an Embassy and the brass tacks are gotten down to.
What had initially aroused her ire was Bowie`s spiel about how morals had become so disgusting and how it was time for a bit of good ol` fashioned fascism etc. etc.
“But he changes so, doesn`t he? He`s changing his views about everything all the time. He`s like a chameleon. There`ll never be a dictatorship here, and why he says he`d want one I don`t know.”
Uppermost on her mind, though, is her own particular situation. “What about his mother?” she asks rhetorically. “I`ve been widowed five years, and at the beginning of my widowhood he was very good to me. This” – she gestures round the flat – “is my property, but he furnished it for me…”
Which figures. The furniture definitely bears the stamp of Bowie`s taste circa `71.
“… and then he got the contract with that awful man DeFries.”
Cue dramatic background music.

“Then he seemed to change. I`m a very sensitive person – in fact I`m oversensitive – and I get upset very easily. If it`s anything to do with David, it breaks my heart. We sent him to boarding school, he`s had a home always, he was always able to go to his father for everything… and since he went to America I`ve only had one phone call from him, and that was last Christmas. Mind you, he was very good. He sent me a mink coat, something I`ve never had before. I`ll show it to you. I was really chuffed with it, and then I thought, it`s lovely to have a mink coat, but where can I go to wear it? I`ve got no money in my pocket. I`m an old-age pensioner. I`m living on £11.50 a week.
“David said in a paper – I think it was the Sunday Mirror – that he left home when he was 15. That`s a lie. He was at home until his father died five years ago. His father supported him financially. He and his father were like THAT, but he didn`t get on so well with me because I`m a very erratic person.
“I can`t see both sides of an issue; I can only see one side.”
It begins to add up. Bowie is the possessor of what we might politely describe as a somewhat fluid personality, a character trait that he would seem to have inherited from his mother, and it was this aspect of him that made him tend to gravitate towards his late father, a solid and dependable man, and on the death of his father to Tony DeFries, who, despite his own comparative youth, emitted a decidedly patriarchal aura.
Over to you Sigmund.

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Mrs. Jones produces a sheaf of letters from Tony DeFries, originating out of MainMans`s New York office, all of which coldly interrogate her for production of receipts and a precise accounting of her expenditure as a pre-requisite for the payment of any of her bills.
“DeFries rang me up one day and said, `You must understand that David is under no legal obligation to finance you.`
And then he said, “Why don`t you go out to work? My mother did.”
“Don`t think,” she says, “that I`m a pathetic mother. I never have been. My husband and I lived for David. We approved of his work. My husband said to me, `Love, if we don`t let David go into this business he`ll be frustrated for the rest of his life.` I was frustrated. I would have loved to have been a singer. My own father was a musician – he used to play the clarinet. This is where David gets it from. My husband and I encouraged him right from the very start, and when his father died he said to me, `Mum, don`t worry. I`ll always look after you.` And he did until Mr. DeFries came along.
“I saw Angela in May, and I went to the Ideal Home Exhibition with her. She has always been very kind to me and I think very differently of her than I did at the beginning.
“When I lost my husband I lost my prop. I lost somebody who understood me, someone who had a lot of tolerance. He always used to say to me, `Don`t worry about David, love, he`s going to get on and he knows what he`s doing.` I don`t bear David any malice. I can`t bear him any malice because I love him too much. He was such a dear little boy.
“So intelligent.

“When he was at Bromley Technical College he started getting rebellious. He seemed to resent it if I said anything to him, and it hurt me because I`m so sensitive. I used to burst into tears. If anybody mentions David I cry. I`ve got all his records and I play them and I sit here howling my eyes out.
“Terry (David`s half-brother) is such a loveable chap. He`s so loyal to me, and that`s what I want David to be. To show a little care and sympathy.”
It all comes pouring out. I don`t think Mrs. Jones` motive in getting in touch with the NME was to get any mileage out of pillorying Bowie in public or to pull any sensationalist numbers. She just seemed to want to talk to someone – anyone – and get it all off her chest.
Really, it`s an action replay of “She`s Leaving Home” – the classic syndrome of what happens when a kid grows up in the early 60`s and turns into something that the parent(s) just can`t understand, and when a cultural mutation of that kind takes place, the old `we gave up the best years of our lives for you / sacrificed everything / gave you everything you ever wanted` bit just doesn`t cut any ice whatsoever. Because that just ain`t the point, and it never was.

Part of Bowie`s progress over the last few years has been dependent on the systematic progressive rejection of his past, the discarding of his old skin, so to speak. So it goes, as Mr. Vonnegut would have it.
As time passes, Mrs. Jones` anguish at her plight begins to dissolve, eroded by motherly pride in her son. She hauls out his school photographs and affectionately recounts his teenage anecdotes, as if they`d happened just last week, as if David Bowie was still that person. “I bought this record” (the Decca reissue of “Images”) “even though it was all old songs, because it had such a nice picture of him on the cover. One of my neighbours said to me, `You must be in love with him.` Of course I`m not. I love him because he`s my son.”
As photographer Kate Simon and I prepared to leave, she impulsively says to Kate, “May I kiss you goodbye?” and hugs her. As we say our goodbyes outside, she turns back to us.
“I`d like to thank you both for coming to see me. So few people ever do.
“I must be the loneliest person on the street.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: The Who, Eric Clapton, The Tubes, Blue Oyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, Bert Jansch, Van McCoy, Budgie, Gerry Johnson.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

 

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ARTICLE ABOUT Black Sabbath from New Musical Express, October 11, 1975

Personally I think this album is one among many that Sabbath did that I enjoy a lot. I think this was a case of NME assigning the wrong guy to review a great album. The result is plain to see, and it goes awfully wrong for all involved. For historic purposes – here it is!

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Black Sabbath: Sabotage – (Nems)

Record review by Mick Farren

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I think it was Lester Bangs who put forward the proposition that people who went to Black Sabbath concerts derived their pleasure from ingesting massive amounts of downers and simply let the noise of the band vibrate their chest cavities, thus bypassing the ear altogether.
The problem with this thesis is that it hardly holds true for Black Sabbath`s records. You can scarcely achieve this kind of effect on the average home stereo without facing instant eviction.
There simply can`t be enough hermits and mountain dwellers to put this unpleasant record at number 9 in the charts.
At this point the fact has to be faced that Black Sabbath are simply low consciousness music.
(At this point the ingratiating critic slips in a disclaimer).
There is nothing essentially wrong with a low consciousness. It`s simply that I find it hard to relate to. I don`t have one. Neither do my knuckles trail on the ground when I walk.
Little Richard used to call rock and roll the healing music. Daily Mirror columnists like to call a tune “infectious”. This has to be atrophy music.

It`s heavy metal that`s so far into its half life that decay is almost complete.
The snap and fire of Jimi, the MC5 and even the early Who has been transformed by Sabbath into a ponderous, rolling THING that crushes all in its monomaniac path.
Is there no handsome young scientists who will come and save us in the nick of time?
Just as religoid chorales and tired shock tactics fail to disguise the essentially brutal thud-thud structures, the five cent psychiatry in the lyrics fails to boost them to even B movie stature.
Some couplets are dull gems of hothouse illiteracy.
How about: “Everybody`s looking at me / They`re paranoid inside / When I step outside I`ll feel free / Think I`ll find a place to hide”.
Then the subject enquires if he`s going insane. His only answer is loony laughter.
This isn`t psychodrama, It`s an amusement park ghost train. It has the same cheap, lowest common denominator, dubious thrill quotient while totally lacking the kind of gaudy innocence that might make it redeemingly charming.
It`s also highly successful, and probably causes brain damage.
Can I please take it off now?

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Roxy Music, Bay City Rollers, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, The Who, Dave Mason, Mott.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT The Who from New Musical Express, October 4, 1975

If every record review was as positive as this one, I guess we wouldn`t need record reviews. I must admit that I haven`t given this album much attention, but I am on my way to have a listen to it right now.
Enjoy the read!

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Once upon a time, Pete Townshend was young and full of hope.
That was Then.

By Roy Carr
Pic: Neal Preston

THE WHO: “The Who By Numbers” (Polydor)

“The Who By Numbers” displays all the symptoms of post-“Tommy” depression. It`s an album that vividly depicts The Who – in particular Pete Townshend – in a similar position as when they recorded “Who`s Next”. However, this time they appear to be (over) reacting to “Tommy`s” third and most “commercial” manifestation, with the result that “The Who By Numbers” is somewhat tainted with the decaying bittersweet stench of enforced showbiz success.
For most of the time, Townshend takes on all the illusory mannerisms of the artist in torment, aware that he has something to prove but afraid that he may be out of synch with himself. Therefore, against the underlying themes of frustration, isolation, cynicism, disillusionment and self-doubt, Townshend attempts to come to terms with Townshend. However, it`s not in his nature to go on the defensive, so instead he chooses to mount a nihilistic attack: he lashes out in fury and frustration at The Who, severed business associates and himself.

If I didn`t know better, I could have easily construed this LP as The Grand Gesture – Townshend`s Suicide Note. I mean, what other conclusions can be drawn from the lyric of “They Are All In Love”?
“Hey, Goodbye all you punks stay young and high, hand me my cheque book and I’ll crawl off and die / Like a woman in childbirth grown ugly in a flash, I’ve seen magic and fame now I’m recycling trash”.
Throughout, “The Who By Numbers” appears to place much more emphasis on the lyrics than melody to the extent that one immediately realises the overall ambience of the album is somewhat muted. It`s almost as if Townshend doesn`t want to detract from the vitriolic statements he`s making by enveloping the material in archetypal Who pyrotechnics. Sure, there are occasions when The Who resort to these familiar shock tactics but these are kept to a minimum.
It`s for this reason that on just one listening some people might jump to the wrong conclusions about the merits of this album – a problem encountered by Neil Young`s “Tonight`s The Night” – a brilliant rock verite album with which “The Who By Numbers” has an affinity.

With sparse yet extremely careful, clean and subtle production (by Glyn Johns), there is an overall “live” quality to the performances with the basic line-up augmented by a predominant scrubbed acoustic guitar, occasional brass figures and relevant pianistics from Nicky Hopkins.
Yet in appreciating the motives behind the lyrical stance adopted throughout this album, I feel that one needs to be conversant with the lengthy interview we conducted with Townshend (NME May 24). During the interview, Townshend intimated that perhaps both he and The Who had experienced some kind of creative menopause. He pointed out: “The group as a whole have got to realise that The Who are not the same group as they used to be”.
A few weeks later, Roger Daltrey replied to Townshend`s accusations in no uncertain manner (NME August 9). Such was the hostile attitude prevalent in both interviews that everyone expected The Who to break up there and then. They didn`t. But nonetheless, “The Who By Numbers” reveals many of the traumas that were being enacted in The Who camp.
Success often plays strange tricks on one`s psyche and we find Townshend attempting to exorcise his in the only way he knows how – through The Who.

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Though the staccato powerhouse chording and rumbling drums on “Dreaming From The Waist” are reminiscent of the tension that prevailed throughout “Quadrophenia”, it`s a saga of Pete`s quest for lost youth. He admits that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak almost to the point of impotence.
Such is his dilemma that Townshend often communicates with the voice of a young man feeling that he`s grown prematurely old. This may just be a temporary fixation but one cannot avoid the overwhelming aura of finality about the way in which he observes himself in “However Much I Booze”.
“I see myself on tv, I’m a faker, a paper clown / It’s clear to all my friends that I habitually lie, I just bring them down”.
Utilising his familiar anthem approach Townshend castigates past associates with the venomous anti-music business “How Many Friends” – a subject which John Entwistle sardonically explores over a brute force riff on “Success Story”.
However, there are moments when the apocalyptic vision is temporarily set aside. With an almost skiffle-type treatment “Squeeze Box” is a spot of sheer rudery, while “Blue Red And Grey” is pure whimsy as Pete plunks a mandolin with just a suggestion of brass hovering in the background.

The Revolutionary salsa-inspired “Slip Kid” which opens up the proceedings has all the earmarks of another “Magic Bus” and restates the “My Generation” thesis, while the closer “In A Hand Or A Face” reverts to archetypal Whoism and deals with rock `n` roll paranoia set against a veritable barrage of the band`s collective might.
It`s common knowledge that The Who`s greatest musical achievements have been born out of sheer frustration and “The Who By Numbers” is no exception, revealing as it does the kind of sagacity that Lennon attained by publicly casting out his demons via his “Working Class Hero” album.
Thematically, “The Who By Numbers” is a transistory album in that with vehement honesty it brings to a close the first decade of The Who; clearing both the decks and the air for the immediate future.
Despite all its inherent characteristics of a downer trip, I refuse to believe that in any way this is The End. The remarkable way in which Townshend, Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon perform their respective roles throughout this album isn`t indicative of a band suffering from a terminal malady. It`s more a maturing – a girding of the loins.
The Who have always been fraught with problems and the paradox is that it`s this element of anguish that persistently motivates them as such a highly intense and vital creative force.
Earlier this year, The Who threatened to deliver a straight-forward rock album. They kept their word. Though it may take some time for certain factions to arrive at this conclusion. “The Who By Numbers” is an affirmation of four great, if somewhat idiosyncratic personalities.
In short, this album is brilliant.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Johnny Cash, All Platinum Records, Victor Jara, Andrew Cyrille, Peter Haycock (Climax), Jim Morrison, The Doors, Joan Baez, Poco.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.